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obama, john boehner, nancy pelosi and harry reid, many mitch -- mitch mcconnell all in one room. danielle nottingham tells us it maybe the last chance to get any kind of agreement to avoid that fiscal cliff. >> reporter: president obama is meeting today at the white house with top congressional democrats harry reid and nancy pelosi and leading republicans mitch mcconnell and john boehner. it's the president's first meeting with congressional leaders since november 16th. the closed door discussions are an attempt to reach a last minute agreement to avoid automatic spending cuts and tax increases due to kick in january 1st. >> probably the worst case scenario will come out of this meeting today and that is we will kick the can down the road. >> reporter: senator bob courter told cbs this morning he predicts the meeting will bring only a temporary solution. >> this afternoon's meeting feels much to me like optics to make it look like we're doing something. let me just say one more time this is a total dereliction of duty at every level. >> reporter: going over the cliff would af
the senate majority leader, harry reid, says we've just about run out of time. >> if we go over the cliff, and that's where we're headed, mr. president, the house of representatives as we speak with four days left after today before the first of the year, aren't here with the speaker having told them they'll give them 48 hours notice. i can't imagine their consciences, out wherever they are around the country and we're here trying to get something done. >> we're awaiting reaction from the senate minority leader, mitch mcconnell. when that happens we'll go live to the senate floor but a spokesman for john boehner says senator reid should talk less and legislate more. the house passed legislation to avoid the fiscal cliff. senate democrats have not. if the president and lawmakers cannot reach a deal in the next five days, automatic tax hikes and major spending cuts are set to kick in and economists warn that could trigger another recession. what else are we hearing from democrats on the hill? >> trace, very interesting comments from vice president joe biden up here for an unrelated matter a
, senate majority leader, harry reid, described the meeting as constructive. >> we're out of time. we've got to do it now. that's why the next 24 hours will be very important. >> reporter: a source familiar with the talks told nbc news the president reiterated the proposal he presented before leaving on vacation last week. calling for, among other things, a tax cut extension for those making $250,000 or less. and extending unemployment benefits that are set to expire. the source says the president is confident his plan can pass in both the house and senate if republicans allow a vote. earlier in the day, republicans blamed president obama for the stalemate. >> i agree that it is the president's responsibility to lay out a plan and to bring people together. but it's a total dereliction of duty and candidly, a lack of courage to deal with these issues. >> reporter: what's at stake for ordinary americans? with income and payroll tax cuts set to expire monday, taxes would go up for most everyone next week. $110 billion in spending cuts will kick in. and 2 million jobless americans will lo
? basically the ball is in the senate's court? >> all you have to do is look at what harry reid, the leader of the senate has been saying from day one. every time that speaker boehner put forth a common-sense plan to fix this problem, harry reid would say, right off the bat it is doa, dead on arrival. not one thing that speaker boehner proposed that reid said, oh, we can work with that. it's about scoring political points. the american people are tired of all of us, i understand that. we just make used car salesmen look good. that's the only group is below us. but we've got to get our act together, and prove to the american people that we can regain the trust that they once had in us and get the job done. and as you say, not kick the can down the road. they want to us work this out. i hope we do. >> let's talk about something a little more bright. the former marine stuck in mexico. if you don't know the story, he was basically trying to go on a surfing trip. an old winnebago and a bunch of surf boards and some sort of antique, torn apart gun that he wanted to use to hunt rabbits and birds.
are at punch bowl, national military cemetery on the island where the senator will be buried. harry reid has been making a speech moments ago and telling a where senator bob dole like senator inouye, they recuperated in michigan and later served in the senate together, bob dole walked up to the casket and lifted his left hand, his right hand was badly damage and saluted. a poignant moment. president obama at the washington cathedral, it was his really earliest political inspiration. both the president and senate majority leader reflecting on daniel inouye both a long time legislator but two days they will be getting back to work on the fiscal cliff. >> heather: the difficult job of reporting from hawaii, thank you so much, ed. >> gregg: the mother of john hammer telling her son is now in a louisiana hospital. he was released from a mexican prison last week after months behind bars. mexican authorities arrested him after he carried an antique shotgun into their country, even though he says he legally declared the weapon and had a permit for it. today his dad reportedly brought him to the emer
, was senator mitch mcconnell and here we have the majority leader in the senate, harry reid. let's listen in for a second. >> the house has reported by the press and we all know, one of the plans didn't have a name, it wasn't plan b. i don't know which plan it was because they've had a number over there. but this plan was to show the american people that the $250,000 ceiling on raising taxes wouldn't pass in the house. why didn't they have that vote? because it would have passed. they wanted to kill it. the speaker wanted to show everybody that it wouldn't pass the house. but he couldn't bring it up for vote because it wouldn't pass. republicans -- a myriad of republicans think it's the fair thing to do and of course every democrat would vote for that. the republican leader finds himself frustrated that the president has called on him to help address the fiscal cliff. he's upset because, quote, the phone never rang. he complains that i have not passed the resolution to pass the fiscal cliff but he's in error. we all know that in july of this year we passed in the senate the relief that wo
from its christmas vacation to work on a deal today. sources tell us majority leader harry reid will be pushing a scaled back version of the fiscal cliff package that president obama laid out last week. it moved the tax hike needle to $400,000 per household. no word yet on when the house might come back with time ticking away. democrats are hoping that a scaled back plan could get through the house, senate and white house before that big ball drops on 2013. that would be sometime on december 30th or even on new years eve. we want to bring in jonathan allen. he's a senior national correspondent for politico. the top headline on politico is fiscal cliff deal increasingly unlikely. i think a lot of people are feeling that pessimism right now. what are you hearing? >> well, i think what you've got here, alena, is a nash equilibrium to borrow from economic theory and game theory. each of the players believe they are pursuing their optimal strategies given the strategies of the other players and there's no reason to change it. i think as observers of this, the american public, you can
and spending cuts that will impact almost every american. now it appears democratic senate leader harry reid may take the lead in crafting a compromise to avoid tax hikes on at least the middle class which was the president's parting plea. meanwhile here in california leaders are concerned about what could happen if the tax hikes and budget cuts kick in. >> this would undo a lot of the good of the extra taxes californians are willing to invest in the schools. particularly special needs students would be cut by 10% and the meals program that so many of the californias are growing up in poverty and they need that meal. >> some county and city officials are concerned about the potential impact on health and welfare programs. >>> the dreaded fiscal cliff can potentially affect a wide range of health programs. >> cbs news' wyatt andrews explains. >> reporter: professor mallen like hundreds of medical researchers has already fallen off the fiscal cliff. her budget which relies on federal grants is being cut by 10% now. as the nih, the national institutes of health, prepares for the possibility of
on a deal. now, sources tell us majority leader harry reid will push a scaled-back version of the fiscal cliff package that president obama laid out on friday, which moved the tax hike needle to $400,000. no word yet on when the house of representatives might come back, but democrats say the only hope we have of something getting through the house, the senate and the white house may be a very last-minute deal. cnn radio's lisa is following developments on capitol hill right now. the ball is in senate majority leader harry reid's court it would seem right now, lisa. >> that's right. harry reid and the senate seem to be the only game in town right now with the senate returning today. we also know from sources, ali, that over this christmas break there were no conversations between the president and top-level republicans. sources from both parties are telling us they are watching the senate, especially the democratic leadership in the senate. we also know yesterday house republicans came out with a statement saying that he will act only after the u.s. senate acts. we're not sure what the se
majority leader harry reid, house minority leader nancy pelosi, senate minority leader mitch mcconnell, and house speaker john boehner. have four dates to reach an agreement, but the u.s. economy would go off a fiscal cliff. that's when automatic spending increases and spending cuts would take effect. -- a deal will not be easy, because both sides are involved in a high-stakes political blame game. >> we are here in washington working while the members of the house of representatives are out watching movies and watching the kids play soccer and basketball and doing all kinds of things. they should be here. >> i told the president we would be happy to look at whatever he proposes. the truth is we are coming up against a hard deadline. this is a conversation we should have had months ago. clerk democrats want to extend bush-era tax cuts to everyone except those americans making to a hundred $50,000 or more per year. many republicans are against any tax increases. -- democrats want to extend bush-era tax cuts to everyone except those americans making $250,000 per year. >> d.c. mayor vinc
. the senate convenes later today and senate majority leader harry reid told members to be prepared to address fiscal cliff issues through the weekend. reid is working on his own plan to get lawmakers to come together before the end of the year deadline. that plan would likely include letting the bush tax cuts expire for households making more than $250,000 a year and short term spending cuts instead of the massive long-term cuts that would happen if there is no deal. after our wednesday conference call, house republican leaders issued a statement saying they were waiting for the democratic controlled senate. the house will take this action on whatever the senate can pass they said but the senate first must act. in a sign of public frustration over the lack of a deal the coffee giant starbucks is asking employees in approximately 120 washington area cafes to write the words "come together" on cups for drink orders. >> we just wanted to have a subtle message of coming together and everyone being united. >> reporter: now a new problem making the fiscal cliff talks even
possible we've learned from sources as senate majority leader harry reid works to get republican support in the senate, which he will need if he's going to pass a bill. and so we're still waiting to see exactly what it will look like that the white house wants for the threshold on income tax rates to cut off at $250,000. we will see if that ultimately is what senate majority leader reid rolls out. as of this point in time, we're expecting this to be a limited measure to deal just really with the fiscal cliff, which was supposed to be appear incentive to deal with the long-term fiscal health of the country. not part of this, obviously looking at a big package. >> can you do this even if everything goes right? getting through the two houses. i don't think the house is anywhere near -- they couldn't get a million collars for the cap of the tax rates expiring. so what is the position of the white house aides and the people are you talking to there in terms much getting a deal done? >> well, the difference would be, and when you remember plan "b" failed. it failed to garner enough support amo
, that meeting gets underway in less than five hours at the white house. senate leaders harry reid and mitch mcdonnell and john boehner and nancy will sit down with president obama. it's the first time all five are meeting since november. economists hope they'll come up with a plan to avoid automatic tax increases and government spending cuts. some fear the meet as good just for show, however a big development with the senate minority leader. he spoke directly with the president for the first time in negotiations. >> i told the president we would be happy to look at whatever he proposes but the truth is we're coming up against a hard dead line here and as i said, this is a conversation we should have had months ago. >> the main sticking point is who should pay more in taxes. democrats want a hike on households making more than $400,000 a year and republican aids say their leaders might get on board with that offer. >>> meanwhile if they aren't able to avoid the fiscal cliff people here in alabama will be especially hard hit. that's because prop 30 will soon mean higher sales taxes and higher
in days. >> washington remains in the same fiscal cliff clitalks. >> reporter: senator leader harry reid and john boehner are both frosty saying it's in the other guy's court saying to avert the largest tax hike in history and reid saying it's time for house republicans to put middle class families first. >> if we go past no deal, the markets are likely to decline in a significant way and involve most americans and they don't want to have themselves blamed for that. >> reporter: already stocks have dropped three days in a row over fiscal cliff fears. from wall street to main street, it is building. >> both parties to are to blame if they don't come up with something. >> we are really in what amounts to a fiscally irresponsible position trying to please everyone and please no one at all. >> reporter: even starbucks tries to hand out advice writing "come together" on every cup. >> reporter: washington could use a warm cup of coffee on a morning like this. complica complicating conversations going forward. treasury secretary, timothy geithner says on the 31st, the u.s. will hit the credit c
leads are harry reid on mitch mcconnell to work out a deal on then present it to the house. he also laid out a scaled down mini deal if they are can't manage it. >> if we don't see an agreement between the two leaders in the senate, i expect a bill to go on the floor, i asked senator reid to do this, put a bill on the floor that makes sure that taxes on middle class families don't go up, that unemployment is still available for 2 million people on that lays the groundwork for additional deficit reduction on economic growth steps that we can take in the new year but let's not miss this deadline. >> as for the two senate leaders, they spoke shortly after the meeting on sounded a bit more hopeful than the president. >> i think it was a very positive meeting. there was not a lot of hilarity in the meeting. everyone knows how important it is. it's a very serious meeting on it took an extended period of time, as you all know waiting for us. >> mr. president, i would just add -- i share the view of the majority leader, we had a good meeting down at the white house. we are engaged in discussion,
the senate and harry reid but it has to go back to the house. then what? >> the other part is the senate. the 60 vote rule of the filibuster. they have to clear that 60-vote point if somebody blocks this in the senate. then it goes back to the house. there's a lot of questions about whether spiker boehner can control his republican caucus. he could not get the votes a week ago and we don't know if we could this time. what might happen is the tax provisions -- the taxes go up january 1st and then the senate might arrange for then a vote to cut taxes, which is a lot less onerous than to allow taxes to increase or vote to raise taxes. so without getting too far into the weeds they're trying to find a method to prevent the more dangerous economic issues from taking effect but at the same time reduce the political pressure on those, particularly conservatives who don't want to raise taxes. >> we just lowered your taxes, we let it go up then lowered it so we're the good guys. the question i don't think anybody gets, they're coming back tomorrow. the president, congress is coming back from vaca
and the agreement is going down. i mean, for example, senate majority leader harry reid is name calling and calling john boehner a dictator . this is what he had to say. >> the american people i don't think the house representative is operating without the house of representative. it is being operated with a dictatorship of the speaker not allowing the vast majority of the house and representatives to get what they want. >> that sounds ridiculous f. it was a dictatorship boehner would have gotten that vote and he couldn' get the vote. what we should do honestly guys, is swan dive ov the fiscal cliff. let president obama own the fiscal cliff. it should be called the obama cliff. >> julia: people know how much they would have to pay. folks on the man on the street interviews . people are looking at the numbers going what. >> kelly: in today's meeting should be a crucial meet the white house should have come with its plan and boehner should have come with a plan and senator reid should come with a plan but senator reid is name call speaker of the house john boehner giving retaliation of what is done .
complications. harry reid is asking hawaii's governor to appoint a successor before the end of the year. his death leaves the democrats down one seat in the senate. >>> egypt appears to have its new constitution. the final official count won't be known until monday. both sides say the islamic-backed constitution will pass. the nation is still divided over the pass it gives president morsi. only about one-third of the voters turned out at the polls >>> newtown, connecticut, while still in mourning over the deadly school shooting is being flooded with gifts from across the country, from people expressing their grief. social workers say while they are so grateful for the donations, including about 60,000 teddy bears, it is much more than the town can handle. they are suggesting that people do charitable work or make a donation in the victim's name. >> more than $2.6 million have been attributed to the town's official memorial fund >>> file this under random acts of kindness. a group of about 100 people at denver international airport wanted to say thanks to our troops who protect our country. t
to senate majority leader harry reid to try to cobble something together that can get some republican support in the senate and the house to avoid the fiscal cliff. we are one week away from it, as you mentioned, and republicans are not even part of the discussions, both in the senate and in the house, and at this point they are certainly maybe having a working christmas. senate democrats and republicans, but i think it's interesting just to kind of recap what's going on here. before president obama and house speaker john boehner were working on a much bigger package obviously, not just to avoid the fiscal cliff but to try and tackle the long-term fiscal health of the country, trying to overall it was expected to raise some taxes, try to deal with entitlement reform and tax reform, those other big things like entitlement reform and tax reform get kicked into the new year, dana, so it's the gift that keeps on giving on this cli clifftmas. >> taking this pretty far. one of the key questions is whether or not senate democratic leader harry reid will be able to get enough republicans in t
. the white house is talking about senate democrats about what senate majority leader harry reid will have to cobble together when the senate reconvenes on the 27th and that's really the last-ditch effort. it's seen as the senate trying to do something that can also pass the house, so this is exactly what you would expect. the real problem though is as of this morning, just a week out from when the fiscal cliff is expected to hit. there's no discussions between congressional democrats and congressional republicans even on the staff level. this is what democratic and republican sources are telling me, and overall just to remind people, instead of this being -- here's what we expect. instead of this being some big bill to try to deal with the long-term fiscal health of the country which is what the fiscal cliff was supposed to be an incentive to do, we're expecting now that this is just some measure to avert the fiscal cliff which is the tax hikes, the spending cuts, each if they deal with the spending cuts and we're waiting to see what the measure will look like. i know what a hard-hitting
harry reid before going to hawaii and his offer was to extend the tax cuts for incomes under $250,000, extend unemployment insurance benefits, and the lady across the board automatic cuts that are supposed to start january 1. that seems to be a non starter with republicans. it's hard to see where we go from here. host: have they been talking over the christmas break at all? also, one has been the role of senator mitch mcconnell? guest: the line that comes from the speakers office all the time is the line of communication remain open. i don't know how much talking they did as the president was in hawaii spending time with his family and the speaker was back home in ohio, i believe. i don't know that for sure. everyone was doing their family time and not really working that significantly on something. i think there was probably some minimal conversation, but not a lot. as for the senate minority leader mitch mcconnell, i think that is a good one. a lot has been made in the past few days about him taking a higher profile role in these negotiations. while i don't like prognosticating
. hopefully will get more informations. >> harry reid speaking in the last hour from the floor of the senate. he said it appears the country is headed over the so-called fiscal cliff because of lack of progress in bipartisan talks. he stressed for republicans to come up with a plan that both houses could pass and the president could sign. >> new year's eve is fast approaching and for decades and decades the american people have watched the ball drops in times square. the countdown to midnight, the start of the new year. the american people are waiting for the ball to drop. americans and taxes are approaching the walt wrong direction. on the first of this year americans will have less income than they have today. if we go over the cliff, and it looks like that's where we're headed the house of representatives as we speak have four days left after today for this year. the speaker has to give them 48 hours notice. i can't imagine their consciences. wherever they are around the country. we are here trying to get something done. >> so what happens in five days when the tax cuts expires? most amer
, there's a growing debate out there over whether top senate democrat leader harry reid will even have a plan-c to avoid the oncoming fiscal cliff and whether either side is ready to compromise, find some common ground, to keep our paychecks from shrinking as well. peter barnes is fox business network's senior washington correspondent. and he joins us now. peter, what does all this mean specifically for our taxes? >> well, kelly, it means that on january 1st the nation faces about a $5 trillion tax increase over ten years through the expiration of the bush tax cuts and assuming that congress does not approve its annual patch for the so-called alternative minimum tax and the medicare doc fix that prevents deep cuts in medicare payments. the lapse of the bush tax cuts means top rate would revert to 39.6% from the 5% now but it would go up for lowest income earners. reverting from lowest rate to 15% from 10% now. for investors, capital gains rates would revert from 20% to 15% now. depending on the analysis the average family would pay 2,000 to $4,000 more in taxes next year. but, if you'r
, the word we're getting is that harry reid is going to pass an extension of the bush tax cuts for anybody under 250,000, extend unemployment benefits for two million folks. um, now, if that happens, it goes to the house, and the house will probably have to put it up. aren't republicans, your party, going to wish that they had passed plan b? >> absolutely, gregg. look, plan b really should have been our plan a, number one. number two, plan b was really the idea of chuck schumer and nancy pelosi as recently as in this summer. to set the threshold on incomes to a million dollars versus 250,000, allow those tax rates for a million and above go up, the president talked about taxing millionaires and billionaires, that would be right, and now let the rest of the country enjoy the extension of the full bush tax cuts which i think we now even see democrats acknowledging have meaningful -- gregg: basil, if it doesn't work, the president's going to have egg on his face, right? >> no, not at all. gregg: come on. >> the president has come back with a compromise. the people that have egg on their face
to mitch mcconnell and harry reid to figure out something, send it back to the republicans in the house and hope enough will join democrat and vote for it. >> given the reasons for which mr. boehner was unable to deliver his own caucus in the house, do you think anybody could? >> i don't know that anybody -- tom would be a better authority on that as having been in the republican leadership. but they had the majority. the speaker actually had a reasonable proposition from a republican stand point of a million-dollar cutoff. let everybody under a million dollars have a tax cut. i don't know why he couldn't deliver it, quite frankly. >> why do you think, representative, that he couldn't deliver the republican caucus? >> a number of members upwards of 50 said they wouldn't vote for a tax increase without accompanying decreases in revenue. they did not like the deal. over 95% of these caucus members come from districts that romney carried. most come with over 55% of the vote nape ear not threatened, but they feel that a bad deal is worse than no deal. >> so that means that they are deciding
is in washington with a question for you. >> if mitch mcconnell can cut a deal with harry reid will house republicans meet it. >> thehouse reps were opposed to the deal that their own speaker put forward. it was a deal that he didn't reach with the president. tc it was a deal he thought would appeal to house republicans, can she voted no on that. that gets me back to the original people. whatever deal is reached, speaker bayne has to allow the house to vote on it. a lot of people don't realize he's blocking a vote in the house. he's not allowed the majority in the house to take up and pass a bill. instead he implemented this artificial rule that says he won't allow a vote on a he proposal unless at least half of the republicans are in favor of it. when you do that you hand over the keys to the most extreme part of the republican party. that's why harry reid said what he did. because we're not asking for a guardi guarantee this bill pass. we're asking for a vote that it passed the senate to provide tax relief to the middle class. >> congressman that phrase you use, simply allow a vote, it
. the question is, who? the president met with senate majority leader harry reid before going to hawaii and his offer was to extend the tax cuts for incomes under $250,000, extend unemployment insurance benefits, and the lady across -- and then delay the across the board automatic cuts that are supposed to start january 1. that seems to be a non starter with republicans. it's hard to see where we go from here. host: have they been talking over the christmas break at all? also, one has been the role of -- what has been the role of senator mitch mcconnell? guest: the line that comes from the speakers office all the time is the line of communication remain open. i don't know how much talking they did as the president was in hawaii spending time with his family and the speaker was back home in ohio, i believe. i don't know that for sure. everyone was doing their family time and not really working that significantly on something. i think there was probably some minimal conversation, but not a lot. as for the senate minority leader mitch mcconnell, i think that is a good one. a lot has been made in
they had to figure out, victor, is whether or not harry reid working with the white house on this can get enough votes from republicans to cross party lines for even a scaled back measure, which the president laid out in general on friday, would just be to keep americans' taxes where they are for those making $250,000 or less. and to do a couple of other things, unemployment benefits, maybe, maybe extend the estate tax cut, which is -- which is also going to run out, but, again, they're not even -- the senator won't even consider doing this, i'm told, unless he's sure they'll get through the senate and the house because politically they don't think there is any reason for congress to take votes that are just going to fail. also, they that i it will be bad for the markets, even worse for the markets to have failed votes and then go off the fiscal cliff. >> so the idea that john boehner is even having this conference call, discussing the possibility of bringing the house back into order, is that an indication that he's optimistic that there will be something that he could get a few minority
majority leader harry reid were both here in honolulu yesterday for the funeral of hawaii senator daniel inouye. we're told they didn't really discuss what to do next. before he left washington the president urged leaders to craft a sort of scaled down plan that simply extends the bush tax rates for the middle class and extends long-term unemployment benefits for another year. but, jeff and rebecca, it's really unclear whether even a package like that could pass both houses of congress. so the president is going to be cutting his vacation short and heading back to washington midweek to work with congressional leaders. at that point, as you know very little time left to get a deal only about five days. >> the pressure will be on. no do-overs for this one. nancy, i want to turn to michael crapo and his dui. what kind of details are emerging on that? >> reporter: we're told senator crapo had a blood alcohol level of .110. he was pulled over early saturday morning in alexandria virginia, just outside of washington, d.c. when he ran a red light. he was given a field sobri
leader, harry reid as well as the senate minority leader mitch mcconnell, trying to figure out something that could ultimately pass the senate and then next pass the house with not only republican support but democratic support, as well. and the president holding out hope this could happen. take a listen. >> nobody can get 100% of what they want. and this is not simply a contest between parties in terms of who looks good and who doesn't. call me a hopeless optimist. but i actually still think we can get it done. >> but the chances of getting something big done that deals with the fiscal health of the country, miguel, out the window at this point. this is something we're talking about to deal just with those tax cuts set to expire for those making $250,000 or less. and also the president wants to deal with extending unemployment benefits for people who are out of work, but when it comes to dealing with, say, entitlement reform and other things to bring down the deficit, tax reform, that's not expected to be part of this. >> wow, pushing it right to the edge. will americans, workers across
out of town until sunday, senate majority leader harry reid admitted a deal seems unlikely. >> i have to be very honest, mr. president, i don't know time wise how it can happen now. >> reporter: in a scathing attack, reid called house speaker john boehner a dictator, and blamed him for letting members stay home with no deal in sight. >> we are here in washington, working. while the members of the house of representatives are out watching movies and watching their kids play soccer and basketball. john boehner seems to care more about keeping his speakership. than about keeping the nation on firm financial footing. >> reporter: the republican leader responded saying it's democrats who failed to lead. >> make no mistake, the only reason the democrats have been trying to deflect attention onto me and my colleagues over the past few weeks, is that they don't have a plan of their own. >> reporter: president obama returned to washington for a last-minute push before leaving vacation in hawaii, he had separate phone conversations with congressional leaders. but it's not clear the talks helped
adjourned yesterday, majority leader harry reid and minority leader mitch mcconnell debated the fiscal cliff and talked about negotiations surrounding the tax hikes and automatic spending cuts scheduled to take effect in a few days. this is about 5 minutes -- 15 minutes. >> madam president, you'll excuse me if i'm a little frustrated at the situation we find ourselves in, but last night president obama called myself and the speaker and maybe others from hawaii and asked if there was something we could do to avoid the fiscal cliff. i say i'm a little frustrated, because we've been asking the president and the democrats to work with us on a bipartisan agreement for months, literallye for months. a plan that would simplify theod tax code, shrink the deficit, protect the taxpayers and grow the economy. but democrats consistently rejected those offers. the president chose instead to spend his time on the campaign trail. reelected. and congressional democrats sat on theirel hands. now republicans have bent over backwards. we stepped way, way out of our comfort zone. we wanted an agreement. w but w
and met with senate majority leader harry reid but that there was not a deal in place to avoid the fiscal cliff at the end of the year. the president also said he may be a hopeless optimist but he doesn't think it's too late to compromise. >> as we leave town for a few days to be with our families for the holidays, i hope it gives everybody some perspective. everybody can cool off. everybody can drink some eggnog, have some christmas cookies, sing some christmas carols, enjoy the company of loved ones. and then i would ask every member of congress while they are back home to think about that think about the obligations we have to the people who sent us here. think about the hardship that so many americans will endure if congress does nothing at all. >> part of the president's remarks yesterday focused on the balance of power in washington and he said since voters in november picked him to run the white house, and democrats to run the senate and republicans to run the house, nobody is ever going to get 100% of what they want in legislation. cconnell, the the case, top republican in the sen
washington without a plan to avoid the fiscal cliff. the president met with harry reid and also spoke with the house speaker. the president said he hoped any deal would include an extension of unemployment insurance and lay the groundwork for a larger deal. this is about seven minutes. >> good afternoon, everybody. for the last few weeks, i have been working with the leaders of both parties on a proposal to get our deficit under control, to avoid tax cuts -- to avoid tax hikes on the middle- class. and to make sure we can spur jobs and economic growth. a balanced proposal that cuts spending, but also ask the wealthiest americans to pay more, a proposal that will strengthen the middle class over the long haul, and our economy over the long haul. in the course of these negotiations, i offered to compromise with republicans in congress. i met them halfway on taxes and more than halfway on spending. today, i am still willing to get a comprehensive package done. i still believe that reducing our deficit is the right thing to do for the long-term health of our economy and the confidence of
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